Directed by Richard Fleischer
Produced by Walter Seltzer
Written by Harry Harrison
Cinematography by Richard H. Kline
Music by Fred Myrow
Cast: Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Leigh Taylor-Young, Chuck Connors, Joseph Cotten, Brock Peters & Paula Kelly
1973//97 mins/Color/Dolby 2.0 stereo
2.35:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Warner Bros. DVD
In 2022, New York City is populated with 40 million people, half of whom are unemployed. The air is smoggy and sooty, and the sun bakes everything, everyday, at 90 degrees. Overpopulation and the destruction of the environment may have rendered human life cheap, but food--that is, real food--is quite expensive. A jar of real strawberry jam costs $150, if it's available--supermarkets don't exist anymore. The government now dispenses rations of food substances made by the Soylent corporation: Soylent Yellow, Soylent Red, and the newest product, Soylent Green.
But even these Soylent products are in short supply. Riot police are always dispatched when Soylent is distributed, because violence kicks in when the food runs out. Thorn (Heston) is a member of this modern, beleaguered police force, which pilfers every crime scene for the necessities of life. When Thorn is called in to investigate the death of a Soylent Corporation executive, his take is a treasure trove: a towel, a bar of soap, paper, and some real food--celery, a couple of apples, and half a pound of beef.
But what at first seems to Thorn a clumsy robbery soon seems a highly-managed assassination. But ironically, it is the death of Thorn's aging friend, Sol (Robinson), one of the few who still remembered what food was, what plenty meant, that cracks the case and unmasks a conspiracy. It is only through Sol's death that Thorn understands what the world has lost and what it has become...
Soylent Green is a basic, cautionary tale of what could become of humanity physically and spiritually if it doesn't nurture the planet that nurtures it. Within it, there's a detective story that ultimately exposes a conspiracy among the government and the super wealthy to keep the masses fed and under control... the secret of Soylent green.
The acting is quite good and the last performance from Edward G. Robinson is a stand-out. In spite of the dated aspects of this movie (hair styles, clothing, weapons, etc.) it still still works and manages to bring home the fact that we, as a people, had better be careful and watch how we treat and use the planet as well as each other.
Warner Brothers transfer to DVD is just about perfect. Shown in its 2.35:1 OAR, I could find nary a nick, scratch, blemish, or dirt. The colors were vibrant and correct with shadows and dark scenes having very nice detail. I could find no evidence of compression artifacts or edge enhancement. The original stereo DD 2.0 soundtrack is flawless. The package is Warner's usual snapper case. The menus are static and unexciting. Myrow's score is eloquent and offers a nice touch to the theme of the story.
There are some extras which include:
A full-length audio commentary by both the director, Richard Fleischer and Leigh Taylor-Young.
A short video tribute to Edward G. Robinson.
A text documentary of Charlton Heston's Sci/Fi movies.
Cast & crew bios.
The Theatrical trailer.
SOYLENT GREEN is a movie that has all the possibilities of being prophetic. 200 years ago someone smart and insightful noted that humans are populating the planet faster than its ability to provide food and natural resources and disaster would be forthcoming if logic and reason were ignored. This movie provides one scenario of this prophecy. This is a well-acted and thought-provoking movie. While not a blockbuster, it certainly has a large fan and cult following. Warners has done right by SOYLENT GREEN in releasing an excellent DVD that is sure to please those who like this movie. Recommended.
This Film Features:
Review by Brad Vautrinot. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©